The Cryosphere Discuss., 5, 3113-3127, 2011
www.the-cryosphere-discuss.net/5/3113/2011/
doi:10.5194/tcd-5-3113-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in TC.
Brief Communication: Can recent ice discharges following the Larsen-B ice-shelf collapse be used to infer the driving mechanisms of millennial-scale variations of the Laurentide ice sheet?
J. Alvarez-Solas1,2,3, A. Robinson1,3,4, and C. Ritz5
1Dpto. Astrofísica y Ciencias de la Atmósfera, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain
2Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (LSCE)-UMR8212, France
3Instituto de Geociencias (IGEO), CSIC-UCM, Spain
4Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany
5Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l'Environnement, UJF-Grenoble 1/CNRS, LGGE UMR 5183, Grenoble, 38041, France

Abstract. The effects of an ice-shelf collapse on inland glacier dynamics have recently been widely studied, especially since the breakup of Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen-B ice shelf in 2002. Several studies have documented acceleration of the ice streams that were flowing into the former ice shelf. The mechanism responsible for such a speed-up lies with the removal of the ice-shelf backforce. Independently, it is also well documented that during the last glacial period, the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets experienced large discharges into the ocean, likely reflecting ice flow acceleration episodes on the millennial time scale. The classic interpretation of the latter is based on the existence of an internal thermo-mechanical feedback with the potential to generate oscillatory behavior in the ice sheets. Here we would like to widen the debate by considering that Larsen-B-like glacial analog episodes could have contributed significantly to the registered millennial-scale variablity.

Citation: Alvarez-Solas, J., Robinson, A., and Ritz, C.: Brief Communication: Can recent ice discharges following the Larsen-B ice-shelf collapse be used to infer the driving mechanisms of millennial-scale variations of the Laurentide ice sheet?, The Cryosphere Discuss., 5, 3113-3127, doi:10.5194/tcd-5-3113-2011, 2011.
 
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